Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, the captain for the Western Conference throughout All-Star weekend, took home MVP honors Sunday night, as he led his team to a 143-138 victory over the Eastern Conference. Late in the fourth quarter while LeBron James was trying to bring back his squad, Kobe Bryant showed Houston and the NBA community why Michael Jordan would choose him over James.
LeBron went up for a shot with 2:39 remaining in the game and his team down by eight points, but Bryant came from behind and swatted the 2012 MVP’s jumper. Kevin Durant then scooped up the blocked shot and slammed it home on the other end.
Bryant was badgering James all night on the defensive side, as he finished with two blocks and two steals. After that possession Paul continued his red-hot shooting from three-point land (4-of-5), converting on a three and putting his squad up by 11 points. Paul finished with 20 points, 15 assists and four steals, beating out Durant – who scored 30 points on 13-of-24 shooting – for the MVP award. That sealed the third victory in as many years for the West, leaving the fans of Houston happy.
They were especially happy because their star James Harden excelled off the bench in a familiar environment. The shooting guard finished with 15 points and six rebounds, leading the reserves in scoring and boards.
Paul’s teammate, Blake Griffin, had a show-stopping performance with his rim-shaking dunks. He finished 9-of-11 from the field and recorded 19 points. He made his first All-Star start of his career and made the Clippers community proud. The West shot a combined 55.4 percent from the field.
While Harden provided a spark off of the Western Conference’s bench, Kyrie Irving and Paul George were hard at work trying to spark a comeback for their own team. Cleveland’s Irving finished 6-of-11 from the field and tallied 15 points, finishing off an impressive All-Star weekend. Paul George, who got hot near the end of the game, finished with a game-high 17 bench points.
If his team would have come away with a victory, Carmelo Anthony may have been hoisting the All-Star Game MVP trophy. Anthony finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, leading the East in scoring. Carmelo got hot late from beyond the arc, but the East was already too far out of the contest to come back.
The Miami Heat duo of Dwayne Wade and James wowed fans for most of the night, but it was when the game got crucial that the Heat stars started to fade. James finished with 19 points, while Wade recorded 21 points and seven assists on 10-of-13 shooting from the field.
The Western Conference came away with their third straight All-Star victory and have now one five of the last seven contests. Even though the West came away with the win in the 62nd Kia NBA All-Star Game, the Eastern Conference still leads the series 36-26. Paul also became the first Los Angeles Clippers player to win the All-Star Game MVP.